• Rosie MacGregor

A tribute to David Kippest and Sue Salzedo

I want to pay tribute to two UNISON retired members, both former members of the National Retired Members Committee, who have recently passed.

David Kippest from Dudley Branch passed away on 19 January from a heart attack.

I remember David with great respect and his contribution as an activist in our union has been immense. He was someone that many have called “a true gentleman” and so he was, always thoughtful, dependable and trustworthy.

David was Chair of UNISON’s National Retired Members Committee when I was still a working member. I remember fondly that there were a couple of occasions when as South West Regional Convenor I spoke against him at National Delegate Conferences but he always took our occasional differences and failures to agree in good part.

When I joined the National Retired Members Committee some 7 years ago I admired his expert knowledge of UNISON’s policies and the priorities we have in retirement. David always spoke with great commitment and authority and his words were always carefully chosen and well measured.

When he decided to stand down from the committee I was surprised that he suggested that I might be an appropriate successor. He has been a hard act to follow.

I knew his health had not been good but it still came as a shock to learn of his death. My condolences to his widow Ann who many will also remember as a another key activist in UNISON.

Sue Salzedo from Leicestershire County Branch died peacefully at home on 3 December last year aged 75. Sue will be remembered by her friends and colleagues in UNISON as an active campaigner who was never afraid to speak out against prejudice and discrimination. Always unafraid to made her views known on society and politics. A forthright woman who could be tough and uncompromising but also had great understanding and kindness.

Members of the National Retired Members Committee were all saddened to hear of her passing. We remembered that she was a stickler for correct grammar and punctuation which came in useful with her work on numerous committees.

Her death came as a shock to me personally as I remember her speaking so eloquently at the virtual Retired Members’ Conference only last October and I spoke to her on the phone soon after.

I was not surprised on hearing the eulogy at her funeral on 13 January that as a child she was known as “the toughest kid on the street”. This served her well throughout life in her fight for justice and equality. More than £1,000 in donations to Amnesty, RNLI and Greenpeace was collected in her memory.

Sue was the eldest daughter of classical composer Leonard Salzedo. She loved music, played guitar and sang folk songs. I am reminded of the words of a song "Rosa’s Lovely Daughters" written by folk singer Robb Johnson to the memory of tragic revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg: "These are Rosa's lovely daughters; These are no man's blushing brides; These are Rosa's lovely daughters; And they will not be denied". Sue, more than most, is one of those who would not be denied.

By Rosie MacGregor

Chair UNISON National Retired Members Committee

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